Did someone say what goes around comes around? How about: You reap what you sow? Do unto others as you’d have others blah, blah, blah?
More obvious clichés, you say? Inappropriate? Then how should we look upon the posthumous deification of the singular Sir John Melvin George Compton? I can just imagine the contemptuous back-row sniggering, not to mention the spoilsports who’ll likely be thinking: Here we go again, another Kenny and Tony moment!
That’s assuming, come Friday morning, our multi-tasking peripatetic leader should turn out to be the one doing the day’s special honors and not his ever-faithful under-appreciated flak catcher.
There’s always a chance something could at the last minute come up more important (for instance, the final opportunity to hold hands with Fidel)—than the unveiling of the bronze version of a man several times renamed in his heyday by the “gargoyles” and the “intellectuals” of Old and New Labour. No need to repeat them here. The noisome sobriquets can easily be accessed from the pages of that seminal work on peace, love and national unity entitled At the Rainbow’s Edge!
It will be most interesting to hear now from those who for their own reasons and in the worst ways opposed John Compton when he was alive and seeking to take a still fairly innocent, programmed and unwilling Saint Lucia on the road to independence. The opposers for opposing’s sake were also there finally to bury him, not to praise him.
They have not been released at time of writing, the names of foreign dignitaries, relatives and friends of the “father of the nation” who have been invited to Friday’s anticipated showering of accolades.
But there’s always the word on the street, and it is that the new House opposition leader has received a conditional pass that precludes her from honoring the founder of her party in any way other than with her formidable presence.
More trusted sources have revealed that among attendants at the big ceremony will be Sir John’s lifelong friend and fellow prime minister Sir James Mitchell, also former prime minister Kennedy Simmons. Naturally, dutiful Dame Pearlette will be on hand, as will former agriculture minister and close Compton friend Ira d’Auvergne, who is expected to pay him special tribute.
The day’s prime minister will doubtless whisper words of wisdom and let it be. Lady Janice will most likely top the star-studded bill. No special word on our newly minted “culinary ambassador!” (But seriously, who comes up with these titles?)
From everything I’ve gathered, William Peter Boulevard, so synonymous with Sir John and his followers, not to say the scene of some unforgettable historic incidents, will on Friday morning be inaccessible to all but a handful of people, blocked off and under heavy guard.
According to another reliable informant the cost of the bronze representation of Sir John was borne by the government headed by Stephenson King, the business community, and other admirers: the government’s contribution was $120,000. But all told the edifice cost over a million dollars.
I’ve been assured the statue was completed and ready for installation by the beginning of 2011. Alas, incessant haggling over location swallowed up several months. Then there were the especially optimistic who imagined the best time for the unveiling would be following the year’s general elections. Ya gotta admit that’s a whole lotta chutzpa!
By the time a decision was made regarding the possible sites—among them the roundabout nearest the Castries Market and a waterfront spot close to Government Buildings—King had twice been dethroned.
Constitution Park was, we’ve been informed, Lady Janice’s decision. An excellent choice, I dare to say, for several reasons later to be discussed. We might even get to talk about the next candidate for statuary fame!
PS: At press time the new official word is that the general public has been invited to attend the unveiling at 5 pm, preceded by a church service at the Minor Basilica at 10am.
Presumably another holiday will be declared. In any event, count on major absenteeism at all places of work—on a Friday!—whether or not related the activities at the church!